Written by Clayton Self
Alien vs. Predator had mixed reviews upon its initial release in theatres. Fox studios demanded a PG-13 rating (to gain a wider audience) and two weeks before the release, cuts were made to reduce the amount of human blood onscreen, and a few moments of character moments. This new, un-rated edition restores some of those cut scenes, adding just over 8 minutes of previously unseen footage.
So, what’s new? The alternate beginning, also available on the first DVD release is included in the unrated …ersion. Then, aside from a couple of brief scenes showing some light character moments, the movie is pretty much the same until the end. New, though, is some gory blood spray when humans get killed by the Predators. An extended fight sequence at the end shows Predator taking on the queen.
As far as the continuity errors rumored to be corrected on this disc: sorry. No such luck. The only issue addressed is a brief cop-out explanation of why the Predators did not have their guns at the beginning of the movie (“They have to earn them”). Duh, we knew THAT! However, I will clear up a few things that people may have misunderstood. First order of business is to take care of Charles Bishop Wayland. People wondered why he looks like the android from the Alien series. The Wayland in AVP is the original human that the androids in the Alien movies are modeled after. After all, this is a story that takes place AFTER the original Predator movies and PRIOR to the events of Alien. Wayland has cancer and is dying, and wanted to leave his legacy; in the form of synthetic humans modeled to look like him.
Next: as far as why the aliens gestation period is so much faster in AVP is never addressed. Rumors speculated that it’s because the Predators gave the queen a drug, inhibiting a faster growth for the face huggers. If this is true or not, I don’t know, but it’s the best solution thus far.
So, besides a poor script and a few moments that prompts a “Yeah right!” (I.e. Sanaa Lathan’s character running around in Antarctica in a tee-shirt!) AVP is a decent showdown between the two most well-known alien races in movie history. What is most likeable is that of the hundreds of effects shots, hardly any of them are CG. Director Paul W.S. Anderson used animatronics and real people to create the alien effects. Overall, this is an underrated movie that deserves more than one viewing. If nothing else, watching Predators kick the crap out of Alien and human alike.
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is pretty much the same as the previous release, although the colors might be a little better defined on this disk. Not as dark in most places, and the added footage blends seamlessly with the rest of the film. This is a beautiful looking film, perfect for transfer onto DVD, and the grain seen onscreen in theatres is gone here.
Identical 5.1 Dolby Surround and DTS track to the original release. Not as good as it should be. The low-end is just pitiful until the very end of the film. But this can be distracted by the fact that even the smallest sound effects get the attention they deserve (I.e. the blades opening and hissing and dripping of the aliens).
This nicely packaged two-disc set has a lush of special features. The first disc includes both the theatrical release and the extended cut. The same audio commentaries by the director and actors and visual effects supervisors are intact, but only for the theatrical version. There is an optional added footage marker to help you identify the new material. The second disc is a gem that is worth the purchase of this DVD.
- “AVP: The Beginning” is a featurette that discusses the concept behind the storyline.
- “ADI Workshop” shows all the tricks behind using as little CG as possible to create realistic effects.
- There are two galleries featuring storyboards and concept art.
- There are several production featurettes and documentaries that delve into the special effects (effects used on set) and typical days of shooting.
- There is a visual effects (effects added later) breakdown showing the CG use and editing to make the effects look more real.
- “Alien vs. Predator: The Comic Book” is a unique featurette exploring the mythology of the Alien vs. Predator storyline.
- “Monsters in miniature by Todd McFarlane” (creator of Spawn) is a very cool added bit. An HBO special is included as well as the theatrical teasers and trailers.
If you’re looking to calm the gripes of the continuity errors by getting more story, skip buying this. In my opinion though, the onscreen human blood and the second disc of features makes this version well worth the purchase.
Special Features List
- Optional added footage marker to help you identify the new material
- Audio Commentaries
- AVP: The Beginning
- ADI Workshop
- Two galleries
- Production featurettes and documentaries
- visual effects breakdown
- Alien vs. Predator: The Comic Book
- Monsters in miniature by Todd McFarlane